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Unraveling Veterans

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble

Multiple Dates

Chicago, IL

Unraveling Veterans

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Event Details



World Premiere at The National Veterans Art Museum


Chicago, IL- “Unraveling Veterans” tells five veteran's stories from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. The combination of first person monologue, movement, and multi-media images mirror the physical, mental, and spiritual struggles military service can put on soldiers while highlighting the strength, courage and camaraderie they discover. The stories are woven together through their shared experience of longing, post-traumatic stress, and uncertainty. “Unraveling Veterans” aims to spread awareness about post-traumatic stress and kick start a dialogue about the subtle and often tragic implications of war and violence. More Information at:

About Unraveling Veterans

In 2006, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble created “Unraveling Bill”, a 15 minute performance about veteran Bill Blake, who committed suicide shortly after returning from military service in Iraq. Bill’s suicide sent ripples of pain through his family and community. Since its premiere, “Unraveling Bill”, was performed many times at different locations and festivals such as the Jane Addams Hull House Museum "How do we Create Peace and Justice" 2013 series,’s "Not Alone" event for those affected by suicide, and The Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Theatre Festival. 


“Unraveling Bill” tells only one families story, but this issue of post-traumatic stress, the isolation most soldiers face after service, and the true cost of war is a national story. To better address these issues Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble developed “Unraveling Veterans”, which includes Bill Blake's story along with four other veterans experiences serving and returning home. Since 2012 Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble has been compiling veterans stories through interviews and soldiers letters home saved by families and museums. We have talked with veterans who have served in direct combat, civil affairs and nation building, as well as chaplains and therapist that serve veterans. In 2013 a work-in-progress showing of “Unraveling Veterans” toured four Chicago Park District locations as an initiative with The Culture, Arts and Nature Department. 


Director: Jack Ryan

Writer: Jack Ryan and Ellyzabeth Adler

Choreographer: Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble 

Stage Manager and Technical Director: Ashely Bowman


Cast: Ellyzabeth Adler, Venice Averyheart, Brian Boller, Freeman Coffey, Noor Hamid, Gennifer Jackson, Alex St. John, Tiffany Small, Melissa Talleda, Matthew Webb, Christopher Young, with McKenna Liesman on June 14 performing a monologue remembering the first U.S. female casualty in Operation Desert Storm. 

Have questions about Unraveling Veterans? Contact Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble


National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641


Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble

About CDE

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble challenges, engages and inspires audiences both onstage and in the classroom, through innovative, multidisciplinary storytelling in the genre of Tanztheatre, which unites all art media and to achieve an all-embracing, radical change in humankind. As an Ensemble, we collaboratively create thought-provoking arts performances and educational outreach programs incorporating elements of theatre, music, movement, visual arts and literary text.  We are dedicated to "performance with a purpose.

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